I am a macroecologist and tropical biogeochemist by training. Having started within a field and laboratory-based research career, measuring tree traits and soil nutrients in tropical forests and savannas across the globe, I moved towards modeling and numerical analyses of large environmental databases during my postdoctoral research.
I am especially excited by the many opportunities combining my ecological knowledge with novel data sources (e.g. remotely sensed) and analysis techniques (e.g. machine learning) provides to achieve new insights into environmental processes and patterns across different scales.
Ultimately, I aim to further develop our understanding of the dynamic interactions between the biogeographical and biogeochemical characteristics of our environment, as well as potential impacts on human well-being.
2019 - present
Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham (UK)
2016 - 2019
Anne McLaren Fellow, University of Nottingham (UK)
2015 - 2016
Senior Lecturer, University of Brighton (UK)
2013 - 2015
Research Associate, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv Halle - Jena - Leipzig (DE)
2012 - 2013
Research Associate, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota (USA)
2011 - 2012
Biogeochemist, University of Leeds (UK)
2006 - 2011
University of Leeds (UK)
PhD Biogeochemistry. Title: Multi-continental biogeochemical comparisons of tropical forest-savanna zones of transition.
2004 - 2005
University of Plymouth (UK)
MSc Biological Diversity. Title: Habitat preferences of duiker in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve, Kenya: Implications for the conservation of Ader's duiker (Cephalophus adersi)
2000 - 2004
University of Applied Sciences Mannheim (DE)
BSc (Hon.) Biotechnology. Title: Optimization of pharmaceutical quality of herbal extracts and mother tinctures by means of phytochemical and pharmacological techniques instancing Atropa bella-donna
University of Nottingham (UK): Earth and Environmental Dynamics, Patterns of Life, Emerging Challenges in Biogeography (BSc). People and Planet, Techniques for Environmental Solutions (MSc)
University of Brighton (UK): Statistics, Biodiversity, Environmental laboratory and field skills, Global Change, Biogeography, Ecology, Plant Physiology, Plant Evolution, Plant-Animal Interactions (BSc)
IMPRS Max Planck graduate school (DE): Introduction to R, R for spatial analyses (PhD)
University of Minnesota (USA): Biological diversity, Ecosystem functioning, Landscape Ecology, Tropical Biology, Plant Physiology (BSc/PhD)
University of Leeds (UK): Soils and Environmental Change, Environmental Systems Analysis, Practical and Analytical Skills in Environmental Science, Geographical Science, Discharge and sediment dynamics in river management (BSc)
My work examines the role geodiversity - the diversity of abiotic nature including geomorphology, soils, geology and hydrology - could play in mitigating the effects of environmental change.
Previous studies have found strong relationships between geodiversity and biodiversity, with the emergence of the 'Conserving Nature's Stage' approach within conservation arguing that the abiotic environment is a 'stage' which biotic diversity plays out upon and therefore that by conserving abiotic diversity, we can preserve biotic diversity too.
In spite of growing consensus surrounding its importance, little empirical evidence exists as to the role of geodiversity in buffering biodiversity against temporal changes, and particulalry against current climatic change. This forms the basis for my PhD project.
I am investigating how Arctic ecosystems respond to change in precipitation and soil moisture below-ground, including plant roots functional traits, abiotic soil variables and responses of mycorrhizae and other soil biota.
The Arctic environment is rapidly undergoing environmental change and is predicted to experience increased temperatures and precipitation, especially rainfall, over the next century. Understanding what's going on below-ground is important, as the majority of plant material in Arctic tundra is found below-ground, and also as there are implications for the huge stores of carbon in the Arctic soils, particularly in permafrost. As the Arctic is experiencing vegetation changes, and observable shifts in key plant traits above-ground- it is essential that we understand the changes occurring below-ground too, in order to predict future changes and the implications for global climate and carbon storage
The goal of my PhD is to improve the understanding of the functioning of ancient agricultural ecosystems. For this purpose I will combine methods from paleoecology and functional ecology. To manage sustainable agricultural ecosystems new insights are needed in the ways that humans influence the multiple functions of these ecosystems on the long term. Both functional ecology and paleoecology are important branches of ecology that contribute in setting realistic targets for ecosystem management. Combining the two, this study can inform the management of modern-day agroecosystems.
Karla G. Hernandez-Aguilar
My current research focuses on understanding how environment and society are responding to climate change, specifically the environmental, social and economic factors that are impacting the sustainability of agriculture and community livelihoods in Latin America, particularly among indigenous communities.
My main interests are protected areas and environmental policy, climate change adaptation and resilience, traditional ecological knowledge and community-based conservation.
Large-scale biodiversity loss has given rise to concerns about the functioning of ecosystems and the services they support, particularly under the threat of climate change. Resent literature has shown that geodiversity (i.e. the diversity of the Earth's surface and sub-surface forms, materials and processes) has tremendous potential for preserving biodiversity at local and regional scales. However, research in this field is relatively undeveloped and has focused exclusively on taxonomic groupings such as species richness ignoring many of the functional interactions species have with their environments that are critical to ecosystem function.
My PhD aims to address this by investigating the relationship geodiversity has with all components of functional diversity (i.e. richness, evenness and divergence) across different spatial scales and taxa. This will present the first empirical evidence of the underlying connection geodiversity has in benefiting ecosystem functionality.
Past lab members
Joseph Bailey (Research Assistant) - now Lecturer at the University of York
My project focuses on abundance centres within species’ ranges and the effects of climate change and human-derived environmental degradation. The project aims to overcome several limitations surrounding the abundant-centre hypothesis using high quality data derived from the novel sPlot database.